Curious Lola

Make a Floral Centerpiece with a Vine Foliage Cage

Spring is just around the corner and seriously, who doesn’t love having some flowers to brighten up the house? Learn this quick and eco-friendly way to create a beautiful floral arrangement with a vine foliage cage. You know we don’t use flower foam so it’s our go-to, tried and true way of keeping stems in place. Reference our video version of this tutorial if you’re wanting some more tips on creating this!

If this is your first time making a centerpiece, fear not! We have another video that covers our common-sense method on flower placement. It’s right here: centerpiece demonstration It goes a bit more in depth.

Supplies needed:

  • vase
  • floral tape
  • chicken wire
  • bind wire, cut into 1″ pieces
  • floral clippers
  • wire cutters
  • water
  • flowers, of course! We go to our local wholesale floral market, but you can find some goodies at your local store or garden.

First, use your wire cutters to snip a piece of chicken wire from the roll. For this size of pot, I cut a piece about 6 inches wide. Bend the chicken wire into a ball shape and tie the ends around one another to secure it. Then, place it in your vase.

Tear off strips of floral tape and place them like a grid over your ball. This will ensure the chicken wire won’t fall out. Once it feels sturdy, add the water.

Strip the bottom of your vines of leaves and little sprouts. Begin weaving them through the wire structure.

Once you have a few stems in the base, choose two vines and attach them with a piece of bind wire in a place they might naturally grow together. Continue to add in vines and sprigs of Jasmine until your foliage cage feels full and strong.

Just let it get wild…

Now it’s just about full enough to support some flowers. Add in them flowers!

Taa-daa! You have made a glorious, foam-free floral arrangement! Snap a picture and show off, be sure to tag us so we can enjoy your work too!

We’ll be featuring this arrangement and others in a moody photoshoot we did about a Subterranean Moth-Fairy who is waiting in her underground den for spring to come. Oh and she’s a hoarder… Ha! To hear more about our hoarder fairy and the next DIYs from that shoot. You’ll want to SUBSCRIBE!

 

Here’s a sneak peak:)

Ugh. I just love those moody blooms.

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Things I Wish I Knew When I Began my Event Business: Part 1- Marketing

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Photo by Raney Day Photography

Starting my own business has been the best education I’ve ever gotten. When I first started, I gobbled up all the advice I could from in person meetings, books, online- I’d even frequent a coffee shop that I knew had amazing flowers delivered so I could stick my hand into the arrangement and visualize how it was made. I’d then go home and try to create something similar. Some of that early education and advice made a lot of sense and I’d hear it over and over- like ‘don’t discount your services.’ However as someone trying to break into a new industry, I found it hard to be firm on anything for fear of losing the job.

Now that I feel established, I’m pretty happy with where things ended up and are going, BUT a few of these things I wish I had implanted into my being from the get go. I wish I’d tattooed it on my palm and looked at it every 5 minutes. Who knows what difference that would have made, but I can only guess that I would have discovered and marketed my strengths better earlier and shaved off at least a year in my journey toward profitability. This is the first part in a series of tasty bits I’ve learned over the year for those of you starting in, not only the event or floral industry, but any creative industry that relies heavily on community building. Part one involves marketing.


 

So, from me to you, striving entrepreneur, here are some marketing tips I know for sure.

“There are more ways to spend money than there are to make it.”

The number of ways there are to market yourself is overwhelming and in the beginning, most can sound like a great idea. With pockets light and desperation high, many marketing ventures may seem like a sure way to get more business. The fact is, if you are new, you may not know who your ideal client is yet and you probably don’t have lots of moolah. Most of these marketing options are little pirahnas that can turn your zest and meager resources into a skeleton in no time. My experience is that most are not for you and nothing is more discouraging than throwing money at something that yields so-so results. Here’s my checklist  of questions to ask to see if any marketing endeavor is a good fit:

Do I know them? Have I read their publication, been on their tour/ show, know of their business? Used their resource/ product? If the answer is no, I postpone until I can assess. Also, if I don’t know of them, it makes me question how they know of me. Are they looking for just anyone to fill a spot and if so, are they equally as blase about curating their audience?

Is their audience/ guest list full of the exact people that will be hiring or referring me? For me, that means other event professionals, venues, catering managers, or in the wedding industry, couples. Not the couple’s parents or friends, not somebody who works for a company that I’d like to work with, not their administrative team, not even the executives- but the people who are wired to look for the exact service I provide. People who will see me, appreciate the work, and have the authority to hire or refer. For everyone else, I am just ambiance. 

How will I be seen? I need a bold presence. If I’m asked to join in on a marketing event, I need to be there to make an impression face to face. If it’s online or in print, I need it to read loud and clear that it is my company. Just being mentioned onstage at the beginning of a dinner for which you’ve just donated 30 centerpieces and in the program at the bottom of someone’s purse, isn’t going to cut it.

Is their audience big enough? If you don’t have an audience established, you rely on those of your partners. Make sure the folks you are partnering with have a large following. It shows that they either spend a lot of effort to reach out to and engage people, they provide a great service, or both! For example, if you are considering being part of a wedding tour and there are 400 expected attendees, maybe 100 of those people are in a position to make a decision to hire you. Maybe half of those people are ready to ‘see’ your particular service as something relevant to them in their particular process, and for maybe 1/10 of those people you are a great fit for in style, price point, etc. Even still, maybe you only get in front of 1/2 of those people to make a memorable connection. So out of 400, maybe you get 2-5 inquiries. Of those, 1 or 2 are a good fit for YOU and turn into jobs.  That is about typical for me. Depending on the audience and the effort expended on the event, it may or may not be worth it. The exception here is work done for other companies, event pros, and organizations that I know are avid cheerleaders for my company. We will always go out of our way to help those with whom we love to work with and who consistently refer us to their clients.

Keep in mind that for online marketing, you have even more of a need to make a memorable connection and most likely less people in 1. a position to hire you, 2. at a time in their planning or mental process to hire you, 3. in line with your style and offerings, 4. a good fit for YOU. So your audience will need to be much bigger to dish out lots of moolah.


 

Here’s another thing I know for sure:

“The thing you are selling, may not be the thing they are buying.”

When I began, I was a floral designer that sometimes dabbled in larger construction and installations. I thought people were buying my floral designs because I was a good floral designer and because my prices were reasonable. I was incorrect on both accounts. When I started, I’m pretty sure most everyone was a better floral designer than I was. It wasn’t for another year or two that I felt like I had gained some mastery. I don’t even like to look at photos of my work during the first year and a half or so. What people needed and were buying was the following:

  1. Our project management process: I was a proven manager with a documented process that put people at ease. Where event managers and planners had been burned with products and teams that did not meet their expectations, I could help them visualize what they were getting, and better still, could offer documentation that they could show their managers. They were in the know, they had a part in the design process, and because of that, I made them look good to their higher ups. Without a giant portfolio of great work. This one thing opened a lot of doors.
  2. Uncommon designs: They knew that what they were getting from me was pretty different than what else was available. We gave them choices and they got to decide what they wanted.
  3. Versatility: Our clients hire us because we can make or know who can make pretty much anything. Our best clients now are those people who came to us because they wanted something different and had no idea how to go about it. They also like that when SH** goes down (and sometimes it does), we fix it. Done.
  4. Our Story: People like that we hire artists. They like that we will research a wild idea. They like that we are a bit scrappy. They like our dedication to local and sustainable materials. They like that our workshop is 1/3 woodshop, 1/3 floral studio, 1/3 strange gallery. It’s 80% chaotic, 0% pristine showroom; and 100% an inspiring feast for the eyes. For whatever reason, our story fit with their organization’s story, or more likely, our story resonates with the person on the other side of the table.
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Photo by Raney Day Photography

Look at your own set of skills and promote them, even what you may think is boring but always shows up in your process. I’ve seen people geek out over checklists, or maybe your potential client happens to be a clean freak and you can promise a clean install…You never know what people’s pain points are. Chances are they aren’t hiring you simply because they like the line item on your invoice.

This is the first part of a series of 10 conversations about the struggles faced in the early parts of business development. If you’d like to make sure you get the other 9, sign up for our mailing list below! You will also be able to download all 10 topics for free so you can put them in a place to remember. (tattoos not required). Sign up below!

If you liked the message here, the kindest thing you can do is share it with others that might be experiencing their own startup struggles.

 

Design Secrets Revealed! Lola Workshops

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Need to refresh your design approach or looking to learn the floral design methods that have made Lola Creative stand out? Come jam with us at one of this spring’s Design + Floral Workshops! Registration is ON by clicking on the workshop you would like to attend.  You will be able to order them individually or as a package for more cost savings.

Bold Design Principles for Stand Out Events– Saturday March 7th 2pm to 4:15or Tuesday 10th 3:30 to 5:45pm

This is the core of how we see and our ongoing obsession. The Bold Design Principles Workshop is not your typical floral design theory class. It blends our knowledge of painting approach, sculpture, and landscape design, and melds it with some fascinating science about how the eye makes sense of information. You will leave knowing how to conceptualize any piece, what to focus on for various effects for different situations, and what not to (spoiler alert: IT’S NOT COLOR!!!). You will also get the chance to experiment making floral designs with these new principles in mind. (and you get to take them home). Feel like you never know where to start with your designs. Consider that done! This class is open to students of all experience levels. Click the main image to be transferred to the registration page.

The Gardenesque Bouquet– Saturday March 28th 10am-12:30pm

Lush, textured, and arranged like it was gathered from the side of a sun-swept mountain by a maiden in a flowey skirt; her unicorn’s mane floating with the wind….. sigh. Really though, if you are of the Northwest in reality or in spirit, you will want to know how to make this bouquet. In this hands-on class, we will use 100% local and responsibly grown flowers and foliage for a diverse, lush look. You will learn techniques to make a full look, how to choose plant material, design principles for bouquets, and tips to ensure your bouquet looks as great in photos as in person. This class is open to students of all experience levels. Click the main image to be transferred to the registration page.

The Romantic Compote Centerpiece– Thursday May 7th 2pm-4:30pm

Nothing exudes romance and luxury like an overflowing bowl of fresh flowers and trailing foliage. It’s also one of the most photographed look on wedding and floral blogs. Learn to make this essential piece with sustainable design methods and local, responsibly grown flowers and foliage. Learn techniques to include unexpected elements and live plants. You will take home your own creation. This class is open to students of all experience levels. Click the main image to be transferred to the registration page.

Advanced Designs with Sustainable Methods– Thursday, April 9th 10am-4pm

Thinking about marketing your floral endeavor as a green business but hesitant to make the leap? This advanced class will give you the know-how and confidence to build sculptural pieces without the use of flower foam and source responsibly without sacrificing wow-factor. This is a full day course and includes a local, organic lunch served by the chefs at 21 acres. The hands-on projects include flower walls, tall no-foam centerpieces, cascading bouquets with armatures, moss infrastructures, and a slew of methods and techniques to get your creative juices going. We will also go over green business topics that will include information about materials costs, sample markups, educating your clients, and transporting finished work. Students take home at least a bouquet.

This class is open to advanced students who either have experience in the floral trade or new students who have taken our Design Principles course. Click the main image to be transferred to the registration page.

All classes will take place at 21 Acres in Woodinville Wine Country, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting sustainable agriculture and building techniques. All class materials and tools are provided including 100% responsibly grown flowers and foliage. Students MUST pre-register for these workshops. Carpooling is encouraged.

I simply cannot WAIT to meet you,

Emily Ellen

 

Earth, Water, Air, and Red.

Show and tell! Simple elements in a bright open space made for a bold statement for this summer wedding. The colors were red and white with black accents. We fused elements that hinted at the bride and groom’s Indian and Chinese heritage while still maintaining their modern style. The centerpieces were inspired by Chinese landscape design which aims to set up scenes and environments that are smaller scale, simplified versions of larger landscapes. Pond=lake, Large rock=mountain. You get the idea.

This event was held at Pravda Studios on Capitol Hill and was catered by Lisa Dupar Catering. Red Sparrow Photography kindly came by to shoot some pics of our lovely arrangements pre-event.

Intermingled driftwood branches! You really don’t need much else for a striking shape and focal point.

Have I mentioned how much I love Pravda Studios? The light in here is amazing.

We used local water-lily dahlias in lieu of more costly and less available lotus blossoms. Bamboo stands in and outside of the water basin and mimics the Seattle skyline. The bamboo is painted in red enamel.

Half of the tables had the bamboo and half included these shiny black stones. This is the mountain part.

We always have a hard time staying inside the container.

Each table had one black napkin. That was the groom’s idea.

Hooray!
Another great thing about these event arrangements? No waste- well, maybe the candles. Everything is either a reusable, or a compostable.

PS, check out Lola Floral in this season’s issue of Seattle Bride in the “Paper Parade” article.

 

 

 

Botanic Garden Part II: Garden Party Table Arrangement.

I fell in love with plaster during my anxious days as a sculpture and landscape architecture student. Besides the obvious uses to cast things, I love using it as a medium for paints and pigments, a crusty glue, and my go-to material to give my hands that 25 years-older dried out look. Lovely. This table top was inspired by some plaster fabric botanical forms I made for something else (that didn’t work out). We worked them into this rustic, table top piece with sculptural plants and vintage rentals (chairs, glasses, and plates) from Vintage Ambiance. This table, like the previous post: “Goodfellow’s Stylish Grey Lady” was part of the University of Washington’s First Annual Vendor Showcase for the Botanic Gardens.

And just like before, photos here are by Red Sparrow Photography.

Yay.

I loved these bricks so much I ended up using them for my wedding too!

Succulents, sedum, and scabiosa!

Doilies, linen, and burlap

The prickly thing is Acanthus spinosus!

Fuzzy moss.

Nigella pods/ Love in a Mist- so cool.

‘Little Bunny’ Pennisetum grass.

By the way, all the plants shown are local and organically grown. Yay!

Thanks!










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